fungus on my gumbo limbo - Knowledgebase Question

Miami, Fl
Question by sofinava1
April 7, 2010
How do I remove the fungus on the tree. It has a black covering on part of the tree.

Answer from NGA
April 7, 2010


Is it a fungus or is it a black coating that you can scrape off with your fingernail? If you can scrape or wash it off, it's called sooty mold which is caused indirectly by mealybugs or scale insects. These pests suck the plant juices and excrete a liquid called honeydew. The sugar content of this excrement is just high enough to encourage fungal growth. That's what you may be seeing, especially if you find it on the leaves as well as the stems. There are several control options: if the plant isn't too large, you can use a gloved hand and squish them. Or you can scrub them off with a soft brush, then rinse with soapy water. Or, you can apply a dormant oil to effectively suffocate the insects. Apply dormant (horticultural) oil to all surfaces of the plant to get good control and don't spray if the air temperature is below 40F or above 65F. Be sure to read the label, and apply exactly according to directions to avoid damage to your gumbo limbo. Hope this information helps!

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